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Strong quarter for Harmony as ore grade improves

Publication: BDlive
Source: www.bdlive.co.za
Journalist: Allan Seccombe

Harmony Gold delivered strong September quarter results as grade at its South African mines improved and the gold price increased, but the company warned that the wildcat strike at its Kusasalethu mine would cause it to miss its full-year production target.

Harmony’s net profit for the three months to end-September rose 388% from the June quarter to R522m. Gold sales were 4% higher and the rand gold price increased by 5% to R440,868/kg.

Gold production was 8% higher at 321,924oz in the quarter.

Harmony posted total headline earnings per share of 123c from a 6c loss before. Harmony’s cash grew to R2.27bn from R1.77bn, giving it a net cash position of R120m.

Cash operating costs increased by 6% to R294,404/kg, due to two months of winter electricity tariffs and company-wide wage increases from July 1.

The return to production at Kusasalethu, where workers downed tools early in October, had been slow, Harmony said. Workers returned on October 25 after an agreement was reached with unions at the Chamber of Mines to address the wages of the lowest-paid employees and operators of underground equipment. The deal will add R10m a month to Harmony’s wage bill.

Harmony said it expected to produce 1.3-million ounces of gold for the 2013 financial year to end-June 2014, but the Kusasalethu strike would bring that down by 25,000oz.

The December quarter’s production would be similar to the September quarter’s production, excluding the loss of Kusasalethu, which would be reflected in the December quarter, Harmony CEO Graham Briggs said.

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